Dickinson, J (2016) Musical-pictorial symbiosis: an intermedial approach to the analysis of selected musical readings of Paul Klee's art. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.


In 1954, Karl Heinz Stockhausen handed Pierre Boulez a copy of Paul Klee’s Bauhaus notebooks, 'Das Bildnerische Denken (Artistic Thought)' with the words, “You’ll see, Klee is the best teacher of composition”.(1) Since that time, several hundred composers including some of the twentieth century’s most influential and important, have cited Klee as a major influence and have composed works ‘connected’ in some way to his paintings. Also in 1954, Will Grohmann’s seminal monograph was published, which revealed the central role of music in the development of Klee’s theories and practice, an aspect of Klee’s art acknowledged by all subsequent scholarship. In comparison to the general literature concerning Klee, there exists a relatively small body of research which focuses exclusively on the influence of music in Klee’s art, and even less that concerns the reciprocal influence of Klee on music. In an attempt to determine the specific nature of Paul Klee’s contribution to musical composition, the aim of this thesis is to establish an analytical approach that reflects the symbiotic nature of that relationship. This thesis presents a triadic model which combines formal musical analysis (of selected musical readings of Klee’s art), formal analysis of the paintings from which they are derived (in the context of Klee’s theories and practice) and an intermedial narratological approach to the exchange of poetic/symbolic elements between the respective works. In addition to addressing the general question of Paul Klee’s musical legacy, this mode of study will provide new insights into the methodology of both the selected composers and Klee himself. (1) Boulez discusses this encounter in the introduction to La pays Fertile: Paul Klee Gallimard, Paris, (1989) translated for this thesis by G. Wilson.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: 20th century art, Paul Klee, composition, paintings, inspiration, art theory, musical influence, art critique, composition methodology
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2016 11:26
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2016 11:26
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